Homeschooling Through Disney World: Getting Ready to Go

We are planning a tremendous family vacation midway through this month. We are headed to Disney World with my mom and dad. Four adults and four children will eagerly head off in a ten passenger van on an eight hour trip to Orlando, Florida. I am the only one of the crew who has already visited Disney. I went on my senior trip in high school. (We won’t say how many years ago that was.) Now my parents are taking us as a family Christmas present. I am a planner, and this trip is no different. I’m also a homeschooling mom, so you can bet there will be some educational activities sneaking into the plans. I don’t plan on putting a damper on the fun, but I am looking for fun things we can learn about while we are on our trip.

When I began our trip planning, I was overwhelmed with all of the planning sites and travel companies and books. It took me quite a while to dig through all of the great stuff I found and find what I needed to plan our trip. In this post and in a post I plan to write next week, I’ll be talking about how I finally planned our trip. Throughout our trip and after, I’ll be sharing how we incorporated some fun learning into our Disney trip.

I began by just googling “disney planning.” Wow, was I overwhelmed. I landed on the official Disney planning site after some searching around. From that site I was able to sign up for a personalized account and a free planning DVD. I had to hide the DVD at first because we weren’t telling the kids when we first began making plans.

I also found this site- Plan a Magical Vacation.Com- that was a big help in organizing my thoughts and making lists of what I needed to do.

I started using some of the features of the planning site (the official Disney site) to get some ideas of how much money we were going to spend. My parents are making this a family Christmas present, but I wanted to make it as soft on the wallet as possible. I like to save money. I knew there were some homeschool days at Disney but didn’t know when. And I was quite overwhelmed with trying to figure out where we were going to stay.

So, the next site I found was 3DTravel. This is an official Disney travel agency that will help you find deals and give you quotes on your personalized Disney package. Even though we didn’t end up going this route, I did contact an agent and received several free quotes and some good suggestions about the options we had.

Ultimately the big choice for us came down to where to stay. We knew how many days of Disney we wanted. We knew what month we wanted to go- which happened to knock out our local group’s homeschool days. But the choice of where to stay wasn’t easy.

Many sites I read and people I asked recommended staying in a Disney resort to get the most out of the trip and the full Disney experience. The problem is we have eight people going on this trip. It was difficult to find anywhere that we could all stay together. And the cost was high.

So, I looked up houses from This was a site we had used before and had very good success with. It is a registry of privately owned homes rented out for different periods of time. As I had expected there were many in the Orlando area, and I found a large house that was a good fit for us right away. Even better, it was much more affordable than even the economy resorts.

So I drew up a comparison plan. I took the best quote from 3DTravel, the price I could come up with choosing the hotel and package myself- without a travel agency, and the price of the trip with us staying in the house; and I compared all three options. I shared the results with my parents, and we chose to go with the rental house.

Once we had a plan for a place to stay, the rest of the planning seemed much more doable. We shared the plans with the kids in May. My parents came over for dinner, and we had a big celebration. Once the kids knew, and I didn’t have to be so sneaky, I could plan out in the open- not just hidden away in my room at night afraid someone would see my computer screen.

I’ll post about the rest of the Disney plans next week- and include some other great resources I’ve found.

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